Each week we’ll be chatting with our opposition’s SBNation blog to get some insider perspective on the Yellow Jacket’s upcoming opponent. This week, we welcome Chad Floyd of Tar Heel Blog to the interview seat here at FTRS.
1. UNC's 2017 seems to parallel Georgia Tech's 2015 season in horrifying ways: lost a bunch of players to the NFL, then their replacements get injured, then you're starting freshmen across the board who don't have any playing experience... it generally doesn't work out well, as we've seen. Who has shown the most promise being thrust into a starting role perhaps ahead of when they were ready to?
That's an interesting comparison, and one I hadn't really considered. Carolina lost all of its skill weapons (Trubisky, Hood, Logan, Switzer, Hollins, Howard) and three starting OL...THEN has basically played without its entire projected starting OL for all but one game. Add in losses of Austin Proehl, Andre Smith, Jalen Dalton...its been unlike anything I've ever seen.
I'm not as high on QB Chazz Surratt as most, but he has had his moments. Receiver Anthony Ratliff-Williams has proven an explosive speed/strength combo at WR, and two redshirt freshmen-- DE Tomon Fox and C Jay-Jay McCargo-- are going to be All-ACC players.
2. I'll admit to not having watched much UNC this season - I know they're still running the Fed Spread, but has the defense had a noticeable scheme change under a new coordinator?
The defense under John Papuchis has largely remained the same, though they are not as committed to the Tampa 2 as they were under Gene Chizik. They tried a zone concept that failed miserably against Louisville, and brought more twists and blitzes from man than I've seen from a UNC D in years last week against Duke. Obviously, none of this is super-relevant against Tech, as the keys will remain largely the same as what you've seen in years past.
3. What matchup on either side of the ball gives you the most concern when facing Georgia Tech this season?
Is it just me, or is TaQuon Marshall a more explosive threat than Justin Thomas, who was there forever? Between he and KirVonte Benson, Tech seems to have an attack between the tackles that it has lacked in previous years.
4. Does Larry Fedora get a pass on this season after his recent successes or is there restlessness about him as HC? I know losing to Duke doesn't do him any favors.
He gets a pass from this blogger, and most reasonable minds. If there is some restlessness, it is steeped in mind-numbingly stupid coaching decisions-- there have been too many to name. Last week, down 10, he elected to go for a 4th & 12 (down ten points, mind you) instead of kicking a chip shot field goal with about 30 seconds left-- and the Heels needed an onside kick and another score anyway. Little things like that wear on you.
5. I'm going to be honest with you - we're not going to miss playing against Ryan Switzer. Has anyone stepped up into being the big-play threat he basically always was?
We miss having Ryan Switzer, if that counts for anything. Ratliff-Williams is more of an outside receiver but has definitely shown that potential. If he plays, watch out for true freshman Dazz Newsome in Switzer's slot (we, too, call it A-back) position, and I'm convinced Michael Carter will be a load at halfback if the Heels can ever get any continuity on the O-line.
6. And finally, how does this game play out? What's the final score?
My gut is that Tech's defense is the best we've seen in a few years, so no "last team with the ball wins" game like in 2014. Carolina doesn't have the firepower to overcome a 3-TD deficit like in 2015. And...we're not good enough to do what we did to you last year. I think Tech controls TOP to a sickening extent, Carolina hits on some big plays, and y'all prevail, call it 31-24.
Thanks again to Chad for taking the time to chat with us. We won’t hold it against him that he for some reason got his Master’s Degree at georgia.
Don’t forget to check out Tar Heel Blog for my responses to his questions when they’re posted later this week. Go Jackets!